My Canning Party
Well my mother-in-law had a great recipe for canning in the oven. I love the idea of canning. I have only tried it once and found it to be a lot of work and not so much fun all by myself.
So I decided to invite over 4 other mommies to help me try out this new recipe and share the fun or disaster.
I have a small (1200sqft) and NOT exactly child proof yet house. So I was a little leery of inviting over a bunch of kids and moms. We had a blast.
A house full of children was just as much fun as the canning. I had a boy eating the dog food, one eating the dirt out of my plant, one under the kitchen sink and one playing in the toilet.
Oh wait…. that was all the same little boy! It was a wonderful glimpse of what I have to look forward to when my 5 month old turns 1.
Please keep in mind that I am NOT an expert on canning. This is just what I did for my canning party.
My husband made wonderful recipes cards for all the mommies to take home with their jars of spicy green beans. (See top of page) For the complete recipe click here.
I got a box of 12 quart and 12 pint size jars at my local Salvation Army for $1.29 per each box. Its fine to reuse jars and rings but you should use NEW lids.
I bought the rings and lids off of Amazon for $10 w/shipping (free for me because I used the gift card I earned thru Swagbucks) Since it’s the wrong time of year to be canning I couldn’t find any canning items at my local store.
Make sure if you use wide mouth jars to buy wide mouth lids. Most quart jars are wide mouth but pint jars come in regular AND wide mouth. I bought the wrong lids on my first attempt.
I bought the ingredients from Sam's club. I used a bag of frozen green beans($5 it made 12 quarts) but in the summer fresh green beans will be better and just as economical. A box of 2 gallon jugs of vinegar ($3), sack of garlic ($5), dill seed or fresh dill ($3), peppers or pepper flakes ($5), I used dried peppers. I think they look prettier in the jar than the pepper flakes.
The supplies I used were a pot for boiling the water, vinegar and salt. A measuring cup that also works well to dip the hot water out of the pot and into the jars. A funnel, jar gripper, sharpie, and towels for cooling.
First and foremost it’s VERY important to sterilize the jars and lids. NEVER put food in a jar that has not been sterilized. There are several ways to do this. My dishwasher has a sterilization cycle that takes a couple hours and all of us were comfortable with this process. I researched other ways and one way is to boil the jars and another was to bake them. I found that info here and here so you can do what works best for you.
After all the jars are sterilized I put them on a cookie sheet. This makes it easy to carry them from table to stove without contaminating them. I put the peppers, dill and garlic in jars. We each wrote our names on the jars with a sharpie. Because some liked it spicy and used more peppers and others were garlic lovers and used a little more garlic.
While the water, vinegar, and salt are boiling pack the green beans in jars. The first batch we made 12 quarts. The recipe is for 2 quarts. It took all our mommy brains to figure out the right measurements!!! So make sure you adjust the recipe if you want to make more than 2 quarts.
Use the funnel and the measuring cup and fill the jars with the hot liquid leaving one half inch of head space.
The best and easiest way to sterilize the lids is to put them on the stove in a water bath to simmer. I used a magnet stick my husband had in his toolbox to lift the lids out of the hot water. I think tongs work well too. Put the lids and rings on the jars. Just finger tighten the jars so they have room to expand. Then tighten all the jars once they are cooled.
Place the jars in the oven at 300 for 30 minutes. I put 6 quarts on one cookie sheet and 12 pints on one cookie sheet, and cooked one cookie sheet at a time.
Move the hot jars to a place to cool. This photo shows the proper way to use the jar gripper. I was using it around the base of the jar at first and it kept tipping over. Then another mommy that has canned before was kind enough to show me the proper way. I'm including this photo and step so no one else makes the silly mistake I did.
I wrapped the hot jars in towels so they cool slowly. It worked nicely for all the moms to take their still warm jars home in boxes. Jars can crack if they cool too quickly. Another way to cool the jars is to turn the oven off and leave them in the oven with the door cracked. If you open the door all the way jars can crack.
Make sure the jars seal. As the jars cool you might hear a popping sound. That means they were sealed properly. You can tell if the jars are sealed by looking at the lid. If the lid is indented they are sealed. If the lids are doomed they did not seal properly and should be thrown out.
Date the jars with the sharpie then wait 4 weeks and enjoy your spicy green beans. These are the kind that go great in a Bloody Mary.